Abby + Nick wanted to throw a small, intimate wedding for their family and closest friends at Chez Joel Bistro in their neighborhood of Little Italy in Chicago. The vibe of their engagement session (which you can see here) and their wedding day matched their laid-back personalities perfectly. Also, their first look on their wedding day is one of my favorites I’ve captured! The first look and their ceremony were so emotional. I love that they were able to focus on each other as well as have a low-key celebration with the people they love the most.
How long have you been together?
8 years! We met at Auburn University in 2011. Abby was in graduate school and Nick was in undergrad (but in most of Abby’s graduate courses and kicking her butt). Nick started making excuses to spend time in the grad school offices trying to spend time with Abby. Abby, in turn, set Nick up on a date with her friend. Turns out Nick only had eyes for Abby. 7 years, 3 cities, and a few “will they or won’t they”‘s later, we’re finally saying I do.
How did Nick propose? Tell me your engagement story!
In September of 2017, we took a trip to Italy. On our first night, Nick warned he may not have what Abby was expecting, to which she responded: “I know the ring is here, I can sense it.” After recovering from jet lag, Nick proposed on night two in Sorrento, Italy.
What drew you to Chez Joel Bistro?
Proximity. We love our neighborhood of Little Italy in Chicago, it’s a hidden gem. We met with Ahmed, the owner of Chez Joel (and our neighbor) and immediately felt like friends. Both venue and personality wise, it fit the intimate feel of our wedding.
What inspired your wedding decor? Did you have a theme in mind?
Minimalist. The backdrop in the Chez Joel courtyard was perfect, no decoration needed.
Which part of your wedding did you want to WOW your guests?
The access to the bride and groom. The guests were all family, and it felt great to be able to spend quality time with everyone.
What was your absolute favorite part of the day? Does your spouse have a different favorite?
Abby: Walking down the aisle. Eye on the prize.
Nick’s was definitely the first look. Apparently, he teared up at work when he opened the pictures.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in planning your wedding?
That we’re not into wedding planning. We held the wedding for our family. We’re still jealous of our friends that eloped.
If you could go back and do anything differently, what would it be and why?
I would stand in the spot where we got married beforehand and hopefully would have noticed that the street sound was going to drown out the officiant. She was amazing and deserved to be heard. I’d also probably hire a wedding planner to worry about those little details for me.
Any advice for couples about to get married?
When wedding dress shopping, I was deciding between 2 dresses. I ultimately picked the one I knew Nick would love more. He lost his mind when he saw it. That reaction was definitely worth it. Pick the dress to WOW the groom.
Anything else about your day that you’d like to share?
Melissa is delightful and her pictures are beautiful, we are so happy she was there to capture our day.
Bridal Gown: BHLDN
Florist: Flowers for Dreams
Caterer/Venue: Chez Joel Bistro